22 killed, 59 injured at Manchester Arena explosion
On Monday night, Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena ended with an emergency evacuation after reports of explosions were heard. Waves of photos pervaded social media of audience members fleeing the venue bloody and with torn clothing.
The crowd was predominantly young kids, teenagers and their parents.
The Greater Manchester Police Department reported 22 people were killed and about 59 more people were injured by an explosion as they were exiting the venue. Police are telling everyone to avoid the area so first responders can continue to investigate the scene.
The GM Police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.
Police stated the attack was perpetrated by a suicide bomber wearing a backpack, NBC News reports. The incident marks the worst terrorist attack on U.K. soil since the July 2005 London bombings.
Witnesses believe the attacker used a nail bomb, and the injuries are consistent with the aftermath of that device, the New York Times reports. A nail bomb was also detonated earlier in the day at a Bangkok military hospital, an incident that result in 24 injuries.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said following the incident, “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”
In recent months, Britain’s terror level had been elevated to “severe,” it’s second-highest level, which warned the public that an attack was “highly likely.”
“It is obviously as tight security as anywhere in the States,” Wes Westley, president of SMG, the Pennsylvania-based company that manages the Manchester Arena, said in an interview. “Backpacks are not allowed. Drinks are taken away from people. You have to go through very strict security to enter the arena.”
“We are working with our foreign counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Monday night.
“At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States. However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.”
Live Nation said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy and our hearts and thoughts are with those impacted by this devastating incident.”
The Manchester Arena is the United Kingdom’s largest indoor venue and second-largest in Europe with a capacity of 21,000. The venue is located in Manchester, about three hours north of London.
The opening musical guests were Victoria Monet and Boston-based hip-hop artist, Bia, who tweeted after the incident that she is safe.
Grande, the 23-year-old pop singer, was in the midst of her international tour supporting her 2016 album, Dangerous Woman.
She is next scheduled to perform Thursday night at London’s O2 Arena, but TMZ reports that, given the circumstance, the concert is unlikely to happen.
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